Wave work goodbye

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More and more people are dreaming of taking a break from the office and travelling the world, writes Sarah Marshall

Whether you’re a student returning to college or an adult dreading the drudgery of office work, Sunday nights always seem to be tinged with that depressing, nagging feeling that in 12 hours time you’ll be back at your desk.

For 99 per cent of us, the weekends are just too short. The day of rest is no longer long enough, giving rise to the yearning for a sabbatical, a lengthy “study” break which could last up to a year.

According to recent research by Hilton HHonours, the hotel group’s loyalty programme, 70 per cent of UK workers are dreaming of taking an extended break from work, citing stress, exhaustion and a desire to spend more time with friends and family as the main motivators.

The same study suggests that 38 is the optimum age to pause, take stock and step off the nine-to-five treadmill, confident in the knowledge that: a) your value in the workplace is enough to keep the door open for your return; and, b) you’ve saved enough money to undertake the adventures of a lifetime.

But before you go hurtling into your boss’s office, announcing plans to be the next Bill Bryson or Bear Grylls, it’s worth sitting down and making a few plans.

Larissa Clark, director of Another World Adventures (www.anotherworldadventures.com), a travel company founded off the back of its owners taking sabbaticals, advises making the differentiation between whether you need a career break, or just a holiday.

If you are in it for the long term, the next step is to decide what you hope to achieve. Are you looking to pursue a passion, learn a new skill, work on a volunteer project, or have an adventure?

“Think about how you’d like to feel at the end of the trip – relaxed, exhilarated, like you’ve made a difference,” says Larissa. “This can open up a lot more options you may not have considered.”

Once your goals are set, she recommends setting a time frame, a financial budget, and deciding on activities you’d like to do.

“We find most people want one or two epic adventures which they can travel independently around,” she says. Popular choices include a month spent sailing across the Atlantic Ocean – no prior experience required (from 2,380 euros, excluding flights), or 1-2 weeks horse riding across the Andes coast to coast from Chile to Argentina (from £2240, excluding flights).

Volunteer work is also hugely popular. Award-winning social enterprise Global Vision International (www.gvi.co.uk) offers a number of programmes ranging from one week to a year; work as part of a research team tracking endangered jaguars in Costa Rica (£1,050 for two weeks excluding flights), or enrol on a 
24-week internship in one of South Africa’s national parks (£2550, excluding flights).

All you have to do now is convince your boss. Just tell them that seeing the world will undoubtedly do you, and the company, the world of good.

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